PARODY, PIONEERS & SASSY SAVAGES: INTRODUCING GAY DRILL

The UK Drill phenomenon that’s risen to notoriety over the latter half of the last decade has garnered mass media attention for the violent content of the music; spawned countless rap careers and informed the artistic direction of a generation of young rapper; and at the tail of the decade given birth to the potential for a new wave in a way that no one could’ve ever predicted.

In the April 2019 Twitter and Instagram were illuminated with another viral frenzy. The type that usually comes and goes doing little to provoke much thought, but this one in particular – on top of being both shocking and hilarious in equal measures – to me at least, was signalling a potential shift in what was already a shocking phenomenon in itself. 

This was the video in question. This absolutely mental video showing a trio of mask clad road yutes sprayin’ bars about all manors of highly graphic gay sexual encounters was making noise on the net earlier this year, and rightfully so. I mean, to convert the phrase “duck man down” to  “Dick man down” in some ways was pure genius. They took the shocking and aggressive nature of Drill and turned it on it’s head in a way that just seemed to fit so perfectly, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by some. What had started as a throwaway viral video, had marinated in the minds of some of the people it reached who thought they’d take this concept a step further.

What followed was a masked up, grey tracksuit wearing, car bonnet twerking collective by name of the ‘Sassy Savages’. Unlike the original video, there was something strikingly less parody about the Sassy Savages – could be the way too well rehearsed batty shaking that gives that impression, I’m not quite sure. The video ended up being taken down shortly afterwards and all social media disappeared for mysterious reasons. Subsequently the song didn’t pick up the traction it really deserved, but irrespective of that, the Sassy Savages can still take some credit – in some regards – for pushing the realms of Gay rap in the UK.

sassy savages 1

sassy savages 2

Now, although Gay rap isn’t a completely new thing it comes across strongly that the realms of  Gay Rap in general have yet to be fully exploited and the realms of artistic possibilities fully explored, or explored to the degree you’d expect. I guess the concept of the LGBTQ+ sexuality spectrum has had difficulty finding acceptance in mainstream society, sometimes with aggressive resistance making it difficult for something like this to rise as a movement. But with a lot of that beginning to get better, there are some artists coming up overseas.  One of the few – widely considered to be the first ever gay drill rapper – Kidd Kenn – who hails from Chicago – has been doing his thing for a couple years now, bringing the sassy savage sonics to the playing field and even coining the term itself. So I guess he can take the title of originator for this brand of violently homosexual music. 

imageedit_3_4009122240

Here in the UK on the other hand, things in the burgeoning world of Gay Drill are a little different. The Sassy Savages had only released 1 song and disappeared, which really should’ve signaled the end of this experimentation, but the position as the UK’s number 1 Gay Drill MC was quickly filled in (no pun intended) by West Midlands rapper ‘Blowski Don’ or “Your Dads Favourite Driller” as he likes to proudly proclaim.

After making his entrance into the Rap Sphere via a UK Drill sub-reddit, Blowski garnered a humble buzz from his inaugaral track ‘Chris Tucker’ which lead to an Instagram post of a clip of the tune on ImJustBait gaining 150,000 views. This put his name out there, but with only one song – and ImJustBait audience not being the best to spark the wave – not much more came after his follow up track ‘B L O W S K I’ – which comically opens with the unforgettable line “I love a man in uniform, but not a fed”. Both of his available tunes are actually solid in terms of his rap skill. If you take away the stuff about gettin head off turkish dons and three ways with pete and kenny, his tunes on a lyrical level genuinely stand up against the roster rap talent bringin the heat to the streets today. The bars and flows are all on point with, the shock factor of the occasional gay reference slappin you in the face every few bars in ‘Chris Tucker’ only enhancing the experience, to the point where you listen to his second release and his masterful restraint leaves you actually wanting more of the Gay bars despite not actually being gay – a testament to the power and potential of the sound.

Unfortunately though, with not much being known about the Sassy Savages after everything was taken down and Blowski Don’s questionable legitimacy as a Gay-Gun-Toting-Roadman, as far as our home shores are concerned this sound still firmly remains in the realms of parody here in the UK. Although the likes of Rawzilla – a gay Grime MC from Birmingham who even sent for JayKae earlier this decade – have made some noise. Along with Karnage Kills, a gay (female presenting) rapper who’s been around for a couple of years now – even making an appearance at the Pussy Palace X Boiler Room. What they seem to have in legitimacy, they severely lack in ability compared to the far superior musical stylings of man like Blowski Don. You can’t knock the hustle or take away their pioneer status, but the reality is for this to work,  fundamentally, the music has to bang. 

With the LGBTQ+ movement rising in notoriety, it seems fitting that the taboos that would’ve prevented this from happening in the past are progressively becoming less prevalent. So like all scenes with more people feeling empowered to make this music, the standard will increase in correlation with the participation. So with that said, although it’s unlikely Gay Rap will take over the mainstream, the cult come up seems inevitable. The only question now is who will be the one to spearhead the new movement moving into the new decade?

POSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE

LOCKDOWNS & COME UPS: INTRODUCING TEEWAY & THE UK DRILL WAR REPORT

UK Drill and The army of artists, their antics, turbulent lives and the tragedies that come as a cost have kept the scene in hot debate since it’s conception in the second quarter of this decade. The untimely demise of Kennington rapper and Harlem OG Bis last week – along with the countless other Drill rappers killed over the years stands to highlight it’s stark contrast to the Grime scene that preceded it. In the 15+ years since what we now know as Grime hit the pirate radio airwaves back in the early noughties, we only really lost one MC to the streets – Escobar – and one MC to the jailhouse – Crazy Titch – compared to the staggering number of drillers who’re dead or in jail today.

bis2.png

RIP Bis

The  internet has had a bitter-sweet affect on the world around us. It’s given everyone the opportunity to be heard, empowering a whole generation and the UK Drill phenomenon is a clear example of the treacle down affect. Despite what the Daily Mail will lead you to believe, knife crime was equally as bad, if not worse in the the last decade with the London murder rate at a high of 204 in 2003 compared to 131 deaths last year. So considering there’s not actually more people stabbing each other, it would seem that – in correlation with the growth of social media and the internet – significantly more members of the gang affiliated, drug dealing, cunch trippin, ultra violent inner city youth who make up the statistics for violent crime must be making music about it accounting for the amount of fatalities among the artists in UK Drill compared to previous movements.

Similarly the countless deaths are as  prevalent as the countless prison sentences being dished out among the leading Drill rappers reinforcing the shift in the cultural landscape. 67 members LD and ASAP both got slapped with 4 and a half years each after getting bagged in country, along with SJ of the Broadwater Farm collective OFB getting lifed off for a murder case last week. Still managing to make a cameo in the video for the single ‘Once In a While’, once again, thanks to the internet.

sj ofb 2

sj ofb 1

sj ofb 3

s/o SJ and the rest of the UK rappers on lockdown – bang your doors

With half the rising talent getting birded off or killed in the field of late, there’s been a distinctly dark cloud hanging over what seemed to be the most globally infectious sound to come out of the country. Fortunately though, where the scene has become almost exclusively notable for criminality and not for the music, there’s one rapper in particular who’s talent level is so advanced that any debate or discussion around his county line credentials or legitimacy as a gunman must come secondary to discussions regarding his striking ability.

Enter Teeway, hailing from Norword – South London, who’s punchlines and percussive vocal style has been a breathe of fresh air and given the Drill scene – on a lyrical level – a much needed injection of artistry and innovation

teeway 2.png

“They was on school trips skiing, when my 10-10 was in human beings…”

– Teeway (Anglo Saxon 2018)

I’ve had Teeway on rinse for the last couple months with the replay value from his addictive wordplay being unrivaled among his peers. Bars like “we took the ride no talking, silent power, Stephen Hawkin”… outline his maverick quality. When you take him in it’s impossible to ignore the metaphors, the rapid rhyming patterns, the punchlines and the floating yet furious flows that glide across his flawless beat selections. It’s been a longtime since someone had this degree of consistency and it was reassuring that although the Drill scene has been saturated with a lot of the same old splash, ching and ten toes talk, there’s someone out there bucking the trend, swerving all the cliches and resetting the levels.

teeway 1.png

“Hit OT with pack of the rock and made my ting pop like jack in the box…”

– Teeway (Honda Civ, 2019)

Teeway’s available catalogue is limited to only a handful of releases, but in his short career so far he’s bagged a slot on the TopBoy soundtrack, dropped his inaugural freestyle for Mixtape Madness and followed up with his recent BBC Radio 1Xtra appearance with Kenny Allstars given him a solid co-sign to take into the new year. Little is known about the South London rapper as it stands as his swift ascent over the last 6 months has passed a lot of people by, but closing the year off with yet another solid release strongly suggests that if he can stay out of trouble, the likes of J Hus, Dave and the rest of our top flight and highly skilled rappers will have another General sitting at the table in the not too distant future.

Teeway comes into the fold at a time when the Drill sound has evolved and changed quite a bit since the likes of 150, 67 and the roster of original Drillers touched YouTube back in the first quarter of the decade. “The Drill scene’s changed. The beats are different to the ones we was rapping on in 2016… and the way people rap. I think it’s faster. Same greaze, just different flows…”. An opinion reflected by the Harlem Spartan OG Blanco in his recent interview with Tim Westwood.

The slower paced ad lib style associated with the original dons is significantly less popular today, with the fast rapid-fire style more commonly associated with Grime MC’s  taking precedent. Personally, I’m partial to the slower style, but with not much happening in Grime outside of Wiley and Dot Rotten seemingly determined to clash absolutely everyone, the change in direction within the Drill scene along with MC’s like Teeway’s contributions to raising the bar may bridge the gap between the two worlds and yield some interesting results in the new year. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

To be continued…

POSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE 

TWO BREHS: EPISODE 001

“Just two brehs tryna make a podcast…”

Hold tight for episode 2 – recording tomorrow and touchin’ down this week and every week for the foreseeable future. So, keep it locked, follow the insta @TWOBREHS, like, subscribe and arl’ah dem ting der…

two brehs logo 2 colourPOSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE

ABSTRACT ART AND CHANCE ENCOUNTERS

It all started with a walk down to Muswell Hill round about to link up with couple mandem for two-two pints at the Mossy Well. A walk I made from Turnpike lane and anyone who’s made the unfavourable decision – unknowingly on my part – to make that trek will appreciate that it was an apocalyptic experience.

dosar.png

Anyway, I digress. I ran into Matt also known as the Graffer turned quintessential abstract artist who happened to be a mutual friend. We got talking and as a result came to them agreement that he’d allow me to interview him about art and life.

dosa echo.png

So, for those unfamiliar with Matt, here’s a few percy’s and for those who want to learn more, hold tight for the interview piece touchin’ down on the site soon.

View this post on Instagram

60x80cm canvas.. 🈷️

A post shared by 𝘿𝙊𝙎𝘼 (@matt.dosa) on

View this post on Instagram

Home sweet home..

A post shared by 𝘿𝙊𝙎𝘼 (@matt.dosa) on

POSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE

SOULSCAPE’IN THE STREETS: PART 2

The follow up in the ‘Soulscape’in The Streets’ mix series came sooner than expected coz I felt compelled to deliver a more streamlined product for anyone who’s now being introduced to the project as a cleaner representation of what I wanted to achieve.

loski colour

So, listen, enjoy and keep it locked for part 3.

POSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE